The majority of our student body can agree that dining services on campus have become more of a controversial topic with every passing year.
Every semester, we hear the same complaints, grievances and struggles from students, but it’s time we discuss what actually causes some of these issues in the first place.
We advocate for students’ rights and well-being a lot here at The Montclarion, but we must also extend our helping hand to the people who work hard every day to make sure we have meals better than your average cafeteria food.
To many students’ pleasure, Montclair State University has been blessed with one of the great American institutions we call a Panera Bread. Panera Bread is a staple in American culture and has been giving the nation fast-food bakery realness since 1987.
As students at Montclair State, we are lucky to have a Panera right on campus in Susan A. Cole Hall and other American classics such as Dunkin’ and Chili’s.
All that seems too good to be true, right? Sadly, no. There is still a problem with these dining places and others on campus.
It can’t be the excellent food or decent prices. So, what is it?
One might be able to encounter criticism when it comes to the long lines due to the popularity of such locations.
If you’ve been a student here for a few semesters, you know that Panera has an especially long wait time during rush hour. Dunkin’ can seem like trench warfare at times with the line even going out the door. Waiting for an iced macchiato and a sourdough breakfast sandwich can feel like waiting in the Ticketmaster queue for Taylor Swift’s The Eras Tour tickets.
Yes, the lines are extremely annoying, but that’s what happens when so many students want food.
You would think every person on campus would blame the annoyance on the abundance of students all trying to get a coffee before class in the morning. However, many students have overheard some chatter that would suggest otherwise.
Too many times students have complained about the dining staff, all three of them, for long wait times instead of the 20 students ordering food one after another. It is simply not logical and not fair to the people who work so hard to give us what can only be described as one of humanity’s greatest creations, the sourdough breakfast sandwich from Dunkin’.
If you have ever worked in food services you know the horrors that occur on a daily basis and have also had the twinkle ripped from your once innocent eyes. People are constantly blaming you for things you have no control over and the amount of dirty looks is almost unbearable.
Projecting and running your mouth is easy when you’re not the one carrying the burden of such distasteful treatment. To top it off, food service workers get paid close to nothing compared to the effort they put in every minute of their shift. The average food preparation worker gains about $13.80 per hour in New Jersey.
It might seem like the workers are slow or forgot about you, but there are just a handful of them and 20 orders coming through. It’s a losing battle every time and they try the best they can with the resources they’re given. They are human beings, not miracle workers. You’re just going to have to wait and have better time management if that’s a problem.
Without the food service workers, none of us would be able to have three iced coffees a day, spend all of our Flex Dollars during the first month of school and have to shamefully ask our parents for more.
So please, in the spirit of the holidays coming up and the kindness in your heart, treat our dining services workers with some respect. It’s not easy feeding the mouths of hundreds of college students a day and staying sane.